You want to start a business that can eventually lead to financial independence. But you need to keep your currently full-time job so your bill will still get paid. It’s entirely possible to launch your small business, keep a semblance of a personal life, and keep your current job.
Find something you’re good at, or want to be good at, and start small. Do a bit of research first. How much start up money will you need? Can you start the business in your current living space, like a basement or spare bedroom?
I recommend for beginners a few ideas with minimal start-up costs, like social media influencer, clothing reselling, blogging, and ebook writing as a few examples. All of these can be done from home and have a low cost of entry.
If you start small, if there are hiccups, or if you decide a particular business is not a good fit, you can easily switch to another idea without having lost too much money on office space, supplies, etc.
Get serious about time management
Having a small business is like having a second job. Only difference, the hours and schedule are totally within your control. You set the pace.
If you want your business to be successful, you must set aside time to work on it. Whether that’s research, creating products, servicing clients, or marketing your business. Use a spreadsheet or a phone app and plan out your week. Depending on your family obligations, set aside at least 2 hours every day to work on your business. Start of right and build good habits with your time and be disciplined about working on your business exactly when you should. As your business grows, good time management habits will save you time, money and business opportunities.
Get a business only email address
No, you should not use one of your current email addresses for your business. First, “email@example.com”, is not professional. But most importantly, you don’t want to miss an important business email because it got buried under the thousands of emails in your personal email box.
Gmail and Outlook offer free email addresses. Select an address that reflects your business and use that for all business communications. Later on, as your business grows, you will want to purchase your own domain and get a polished email address like “Ebony@mybusinessname.com”.
Keep your business expenses separate
Start your business right. From the very beginning, keep your business expenses and earnings separate. It doesn’t matter if you don’t “officially” have an LLC yet and you’re just selling cosmetics from your bedroom, keep the business money and expenses separate. This habit will save you colossal headaches down the road if your business grows, and will make it easier when it’s time to make your business “official” and get that LLC and business banking account.
Get a separate checking account. Most major banks make is very easy to open an additional checking account online. Just sign-in to your online banking account and open a new checking account. You can then transfer your business startup money to the new checking account, and view and manage your personal and “business” checking account in one place. Be sure to use the “business” checking account for any payment accounts you set up with Paypal, eBay, Poshmark, AdSense or any other online sources of income.
Also, look for a bank that offers free checking without a minimum balance. You don’t want your startup funds to get slowly drained by minimum balance fees. These banks offer free checking without minimum balance fees: Ally Bank, Capital One.
Track your expenses. Start a spreadsheet and keep track of all monies you spend on your business. Did you buy storage containers? Mailing supplies? Facebook ads? Gift bags? Note all of those items in your spreadsheet. Pro tip: If you purchase items from a business that offers e-receipts, take advantage of that feature and send the receipts to your business email. This is an easy way to keep your receipts organized in an easy retrievable way – no paper!
These few steps will set you up for success and growth, and will make it much easier when you’re ready to graduate to an LLC, a business bank account, etc. Plus, getting in the habit of keeping good records before you make a ton of money will make it less likely to run into trouble with the IRS down the road.